There is unfortunately still quite a bit of subtle (and not-so-subtle) racism in the tattoo industry. It’s often believed that customers with darker skin are harder to tattoo, but that’s certainly not the case. Especially as body modification is such an important part of all cultures and histories, not just white ones.
Black ink is also not the only ink that has to be used on dark skin, contrary to what many believe. Darker skin can still feature bright and colourful pieces. you just have to know what you’re doing with that tattoo machine.
More tattoo artists should push themselves to learn how to tattoo different skin types, including darker skin, as the subculture of tattooing isn’t so “sub” anymore. It can be disheartening for black or tanned customers walking into a tattoo shop when all they see is flash painted on white paper, and portfolios filled with white skin, or only very dark tattoos on darker skin.
(June 2020) With the world finally rallying beside our black brothers and sisters it’s more important than ever to support black businesses, including tattoo artists.
Feel free to leave more links to black tattoo artists below!
A number of people have brought to my attention that Max Rathbone has a large number of sexual assault and abuse allegations against him. Whether they are true or not is not for me to decide, but the number of women making claims against him is outstanding. Hence I have deleted photos of his work and will not be including him in future articles.
If you or someone you know has been abused by a tattoo artist, please say something. It’s an industry that unfortunately all too often allows men to prey on innocent people that are in a vulnerable position.
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry… Krampus is coming and he’s much less forgiving than jolly old St. Nicholas.
Krampus is the demonic, German counterpart to St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is the original Santa Claus; the patron saint of children. European cultures did (and to some degree still do) celebrate(d) St. Nicholas early in December every year. But equally fear(ed) Krampus; the Christmas demon who punishes children. He is usually seen as a massive beast, similar to a Greek satyr or faun, but much more menacing.
Krampus stands anywhere from six to eight feet tall, has dark fur with matching long dark hair, huge sharp horns, a long forked tongue, and large hooves.
Similar to Santa, Krampus also carries bells, lulling children into a false sense of security. He also carries a bundle of long birch sticks so he can beat children.
He saves the worst punishment for the naughtiest children though. Children who are particularly bad get dragged down into the underworld in his large sack to be tortured. Just a bit worse than a lump of coal!
Krampus arrives on December fifth, which is also known as Krampusnacht. The next day is when St. Nicholas arrives and rewards all the good children.
Krampus is becoming more and more popular thanks to movies and tv episodes dedicated to the beastly Christmas character. People are always looking for a new way to celebrate Christmas, and for those who like the darker side of life, Krampus has become their own Santa Claus.
As a tattoo, Krampus is often done in blackwork style to emphasize how dark and menacing he is. Though American and Neo traditional styles are also quite popular. Krampus is also usually just depicted as a head, but is sometimes seen full-bodied and carrying children in his sack.
Who will you be hoping to see this Christmas season; Santa, or Krampus?
NSFW. Shibari is the ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage. In Japanese, Shibari simply means “to tie.”
Shibari dates back to the 1400’s when police and samurai would use Hojo-jutsu, the martial art of restraining captives. This was used to both imprison captives as well as torture.
By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s this evolved into a new kind of erotic rope tying called Kinbaku. Today, this erotic art form is generally just called Shibari.
The knots used in Shibari accentuate characteristics in the models body, and show sensuality, vulnerability, as well as strength. The ropes create geometric patterns on the models body that contrast the bodies natural curves.
Shibari tattoos are erotic and sensual, showing off the human form in all its beauty. They are often done in black work, black and grey, realism, and neo traditional styles.
To see some live Shibari art please check out shibari.jp to see my favourite Shibari artist, Hajime Kinoko.
Panthers have been a staple in American traditional tattoos for a long time, but they can also be done in many other styles such as neo traditional, realism, black and grey, and new school.
Panthers are powerful animals, and make for a powerful tattoo. They can represent, power, strength, honor, wisdom, and beauty.
Panthers were most popular with sailors and prison inmates, up until the Vietnam war when they became popular with soldiers as well. Now they are more popular than ever as American traditional designs are still going strong.
Bartholomew J. Simpson, son to Homer and Marge of the Simpson family. KNown for his quick wit, pranks, and one liners.Bart’s character of rebelliousness and lack of respect for authority have had him described as an updated and modern version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He is a disruptive student at school, and often causes trouble for his teachers, the principal, and the grounds keeper.
Although Bart is a prankster he has a soft spot for his family, particularly his siblings.
He is often seen with a skateboard, a slingshot, or candy!
Bart can get up to some pretty bad behaviour, but ultimately isn’t a bad kid. He likes having fun (sometimes at other peoples expense) but on a number of occasions he shows true remorse for his actions.
In some of the Treehouse of Horror episodes, Bart is seen as a monster, such as the fly, zombie, gremlin, devil and more.
As a tattoo Bart is most often done in American traditional, neo traditional, and blackwork style.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (better known as Alice in Wonderland) was written in 1865 by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll).
The story follows a young girl, Alice, who falls down a hole into a fantastical land full of bizarre characters and situations.
There are also films based on the book, with the most popular being Disney’s animated version from 1951.
More recent films Alice in wonderland (directed by Tim Burton) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (directed by James Bobin) are also produced by Disney, but take on a much darker theme.
People in the 1960’s-80’s speculated about what the story was “really” about. Many people thought that it was really a psychedelic trip. Due in large part to the frequent usage of drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms at this time. Experts usually disagree with this theory though, as Charles isn’t thought to have been a user of recreational drugs.
Popular characters include the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Red Queen (Queen of Hearts), the March Hare, White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, and many more.
Jan Veldman works at Gypsy Cat Tattoos in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Jan’s style can be characterized as neo traditional and new school, with a hint of American traditional thrown into the mix. He tattoos everything from classic roses to characters from shows and movies.
Most of Jan’s work is bright and bold, but he doesn’t shy away from some brilliant black and grey work either!
Bring in your own design or pick one of his. Whatever you choose, Jan is a must see artist in Winnipeg!